1. An Education. A film about a 16-year-old schoolgirl who falls in love with a man twice her age. Carrey Mulligan gives, hands-down, the best performance of 2009.
2. Home. A terrific documentary about the threat made by man to our planet’s ecological balance and what the rest of the world are doing to salvage it. The film found a great narrator in Glenn Close.
3. Happy Together. A beautifully photographed film from Wong Kar Wai, my favorite director on this side of the world, about two gay lovers whose paths separate and then collide in Argentina.
4. L’Appartement. A terrific thriller with a terrific ending starring a refreshingly young Monica Belucci. It was remade by Hollywood into Wicker Park and butchered it by giving the film a happy ending.
5. Let The Right One In. A Swedish film about a 12-year-old vampire who develops a deep connection to a 12-year-old normal boy who lives next door. The last time Morse Code was employed in a movie, it came out terrifyingly good. That film was Infernal Affairs. This vampire film is in that league.
6. The Cove. Another outstanding documentary about the man who gave rich corporations the idea that they could make a helluva lot of money staging dolphin shows and how he spends for the rest of his life atoning for this mistake – by traveling all over the world trying to save the wholesale slaughter of whales and dolphins.
7. Up In The Air. A film from the director of Juno about a man who fires people for a living, who gets sexually and emotionally involved with a fellow frequent traveler, and whose job is being threatened by a young woman’s 21st century ideals.